Here’s another great winery for you Carmel Valley aficionados—Carmel Hills Winery. The six acre vineyard is on top of Los Laureles Grade and the tasting room is at 12 Del Fino Place, inside the Lyons Head Gallery in Carmel Valley Village.
What a great combination—wine and art. The tasting room is lovely with art on the walls and a small outside courtyard available for group tastings.
Both of the winery’s owners—Paul Stokes and Lynn Sakasegawa—were in the tasting room when we were there, a real treat. Their love for their craft was obvious and very infectious. Plus, we even got to hold an actual piece of their land, or “terroir”—quite fun.
We started out the tasting with a 2006 Unfiltered Chardonnay—we loved it. Light, mellow, great for hot summer days. MK even called it “slightly chewy,” a designation usually associated with reds. We bought a bottle at $20 to add to our “wine cellar.”
We also liked the 2007 Unfiltered Chardonnay and could actually pick out the taste of grapefruit before we read it in the description—palate progress. When we asked Lynn about how we could develop our palates, she responded, “practice.” Just think what we have to look forward to!
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was quite yummy, especially when Lynn brought out a piece of bittersweet chocolate for us to have with this wine that has “notes of chocolate” in it. She also gave us a pairing recipe of short ribs to go with the wine. A nice touch.
Finally, we were treated to their 2008 Pinot Noir which won the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Double Gold Award. That means that every judge, in a blind tasting, gave it a gold. It was full, luscious, and berry-likeable.
We loved our tasting experience at Carmel Hills. Being able to talk with the vintners made it an especially warm and personal experience. And we loved the quote that Lynn shared with us that she had once heard, “People should live where grapes live.” And, we do!